Playdough Art with The Artful Parent

Playdough Art with The Artful Parent

Today we’re super excited to be a stop on the virtual book tour celebrating the release of the revised edition of The Artful Parent by Jean Van’t Hul! Over the past 10 years that Jean has been blogging, we’ve been huge fans and constantly inspired by her creative ideas and inspiring methods for engaging kids with art. We’re always referencing our well-worn copy of the book and this newly updated edition does not disappoint, with all new additions, tips, and photography to explore.

Jean’s insights into what it means to be artful, suggestions on how to include more art in your family’s busy days, and never-ending lists of activities, prompts, and invitations are an invaluable resource for parents.

Playdough Art with The Artful Parent

We’re thrilled to be sharing a little sneak peak into the book – this homemade playdough recipe is an instant classic and endless fun for both kids and parents. See the recipe below, and buy your copy of The Artful Parent now available where books are sold!

Homemade Playdough

We love our handmade playdough so much (the texture, smell, quantity, and process) that we never purchase commercial versions. This stovetop playdough has a wonderful texture that lasts for months.

Note: While little kids age 1 and up can play with the playdough, only adults should make this stovetop version.


  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 ¼ cups salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Essential oils (optional)


  1. In a large heatproof pot, mix together the water, salt, cream of tartar, vegetable oil, and a few drops of food coloring.
  2. Heat the mixture on the stovetop until simmering.
  3. Mix the flour into the hot mixture and cook for just a little longer, until the dough is no longer sticky. (You can pinch it between your fingers to test it.)
  4. Dump the dough on the counter and let it cool until you can safely manipulate it with your hands. Knead until smooth.
  5. Knead in glitter and/or essential oils, if desired.
Playdough Art with The Artful Parent

After making our playdough (we used aqua food coloring and lavender essential oil!) we flipped to another one of our favorite parts in the book: first forays into art. There are seemingly endless ideas, activities, prompts, and tips for your little artist to try. The playdough art and play activity page was chock full of methods and tools for getting creative with playdough. We don’t deny our long-time love of pasta, so naturally, we went with that suggestion and pulled out our ever growing noodle collection.

Playdough Art with The Artful Parent

As Jean explains in the book, including art in your kids’ lives can be as simple as you want it to be, no fancy art supplies or tools necessary! You likely already have everything you need to set up this playdough and pasta activity, or can gather them quickly and affordably at your local supermarket. The Artful Parent is full of activities just like this, and Jean explains everything from how to encourage process art, making time and space for art, organizing and building your art supply stash, and beyond. We know you and your kids will love The Artful Parent as much as we do, so make sure to follow along on the virtual book tour this summer for more activities, interviews, and giveaways!

Playdough Art with The Artful Parent Playdough Art with The Artful Parent Playdough Art with The Artful Parent